Last night, Bwog’s theatre aficionado Megan McGregor clicked her heels together three times and soon found herself in the Lerner Black Box theatre watching Operation: Ease on Down the Road.
Friday night at 8 and 11 pm, Lerner Black Box experienced something unlike it has ever experienced—racist jokes, cultural references, and Barnard women galore. Wait, that sounds like LateNite. Colette McIntyre and Liz Watson (LateNite veterans themselves) truly did present an extremely unique hour of comedy, dance, and music quite unlike anything Lerner Black Box (or should I say Lerner African-American Box?) or Columbia University have ever seen—Operation: Ease on Down the Road.
Colette and Liz, both BC ’12, advertised their two women show (quite well, I must add, as the turnout was impressive) as a two (white) women show retelling The Wiz in sixty minutes. The Wiz, a “super soul musical,” is itself a 1970s retelling of The Wizard of Oz in the context of urban African-American culture. Most audience members entered Lerner Friday evening not knowing what exactly to expect, except most likely an hour of masturbatory jokes and self-indulgence. However, Operation: Ease on Down the Road was much more than that. Sure, here and there it did feel more like the Colette and Liz Show than The Wiz, but that’s because in reality, it was their show, and it was hilarious.
The play fluctuated between the actual story of The Wiz and the story of Liz and Colette’s journey producing their play. Operation: Ease on Down the Road wisely used these dual plots to never let the audience grow old of either story line—the first of which the audience already knew (The Wizard of Oz), and the second ridden with occasionally tiring jokes about and references to African-American culture and quarrels between the two women. Liz and Colette surprised the audience by occasionally having their pianist, Solomon Hoffman, CC ’14, who indeed is as cute as they suggested, and their producer, Will Hughes, CC ’13, participate in their show as characters. These moments were some of the funniest.
Overall, I was impressed with the hysterical show the two women came up with, despite its tiring aspects—the African-American jokes, the sex jokes, and the overemphasis on their friendship. Operation: Ease on Down the Road also featured awesome lighting by Will Brown, SEAS ’12. Liz and Colette ended their show on a feel-good note, letting the audience participate in their song and dance.